Simple On-Page Tag Optimization for Bloggers

This is a guest post by Tola Famakinwa, SEO Blogger.

Coming from an SEO background, it’s been quite a journey learning how to blog. Heck, I’m pretty much still on the road if you ask me! As much as SEO is highly related to Blogging I’m starting to understand that they are two different things. However, I know that a lot of the knowledge I’ve learnt from SEO has helped with my blogging. One of the sectors of SEO which I feel is highly relevant to blogging but most times is not emphasized as it should is Tag Optimization. So here’s me giving my two cents on optimising your tags to help your blog in its organic search.

There are lots of tags when it comes to SEO. Most content management systems like WordPress give you free reign over a lot of your tags, but others (like Blogger) do not. You literally have to go out of your way to change the way some of your tags appear. I’ll try to list some blogs which show you how to change some tags, but note, if you are not comfortable about getting your hands dirty with HTML and XML codes then do not do it!

On-Page Optimization Tags

Title Tags
Frankly, this is the mother of all tags. It’s very useful to help your search engine ranking. Most times your blog name comes first – that’s all well and good, but if your blog name is the same as your URL name then your wasting good keyword space. You want your post title to come first then your blog name.

Editor’s Note
Also, when you’re writing your title tag, remember that it is what is used as the title of your post for most social bookmarking and sharing plugins / sites. So if you have the TweetMeme plugin, for example, when people click retweet, your post’s title tag will go out in the tweet.

TweetMeme Title Tag
TweetMeme Uses the Title Tag When Sharing a Post

Blogger is notorious for not letting you do this! Here’s a code which shows you how to override it. Normally your title tags should be about 70-80 characters. If you can’t fit everything in there, put the most important keywords first. Anything more than 80 characters and Search engines would most likely cut off the rest.

Meta Tags (Keyword and Description)
These days, they’re pretty irrelevant but there’s nothing wrong in having it still. Sometimes your Meta Description is displayed as a brief summary on search engines results, called snippets. It should be catchy so people might actually click it to your blog. The limit is 150-250, so make it count.

Editor’s Note

For self-hosted WordPress blogs using Thesis, you can easily create meta tags and descriptions for your main homepage using the built in fields supplied with the theme through the Thesis Page Options and for your posts using the SEO Details and Additional Style section. For other themes, simply install plugins like Platinum SEO or All in One SEO.

If you are using Blogger, this is how you can create dynamic meta tags for your posts.

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, …)
These days heading tags don’t really count as much as they used to, but its still nice to do things right. H1 tags for the topmost title and then reduce them as you go along. Avoid just increasing the font size for a heading, but tag it as a heading, or sub-heading, especially if there’s a keyword in it, and there should be too!

Anchor Tags
These are used to link to images and texts. Whatever you are using the anchor text for, its always best to add alt (alternative) text to aid the link description. It’s also a good idea to use rich keywords when using anchor tags, they’re really useful. For instance if you’re linking to your home page, it’s a good idea to use the keyword which you want to be found for, which is usually the title of your blog.

One great example is how commenters can use the KeywordLuv plugin to create great anchor text for their commenting URL.

Image Tags for SEO
With KeywordLuv, Link Uses Support Small Businesses as Anchor Text

Image Tags
Image tags, like anchor tags, should be used with alt keywords and rich descriptions. When naming an image, also consider giving it a nice keyword name not just the bland name like ‘pic001.jpg’ or something like that. That way the image stands a chance of ranking for that keyword in the search engine image results.

The above image name and tags are:
<img src="http://kikolani.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/image-tags-search-engine-optimization.jpg" alt="Image Tags for SEO" border="0" />

Canonical Tags
Generally, you don’t need to worry too much about this tag if your blog is being hosted but if you have access to edit this setting, its a good idea to do so. This tag is used for displaying a preferred page, as opposed to another. It’s mainly used for URLs like http://www.yoursite.com/ rather than http://yoursite.com/ or http://www.yoursite.com/ instead of http://www.yoursite.com/index.html – which ever you want. When this tag is used, your users get redirected to the page you prefer and it reduces lots of confusion for your uses.

Editor’s Note
In WordPress, this can be done simply in the General Settings page of the dashboard where you set the blog address (URL) and WordPress address (URL) fields.

Tags Summary

These are the main tags which are relevant for blogs. On page optimisation might not get you more readers immediately but it helps increase your organic search ranking which provides more visitors in the long run. I think of it as laying a good foundation for a blog.

Your Tags for Optimization

Other than that, that is simply it for on page tag optimisation! Now was that easy or what? What about you? What other tags do you use to optimise your blog to get that ranking we all so desire?





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Comments

  1. says

    hey Tola, I especially like your point about images :) I think its something that alot of people simply overlook! Anyway, great little summary of the basics, keep up the great work!

    • says

      Why thank you Andrew! Although I have to give a lot of the credit to Kristi as well for the updates :)
      I haven’t started using WordPress yet (no comment) so thanks for the tip! I’ll try it out myself when I do.

  2. says

    Informative articles for noobs… Just one question. How many tags is enough? I mean i have seen people using 20-30 tags as well some use 2-3.. Whats your take?

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Paritosh. Although I’m not too sure which tags you’re referring to. If you literally mean tags as in image tags, and heading tags and all the possible other tags then frankly I’ll just go with the main ones I’ve listed.

      A lot of those other tags are mainly for crawlers and for extra information, like author name and versions, which aren’t really used by human users and I haven’t exactly seen crawlers user them either. I don’t think they would hurt your website or blog to have them, but neither do I think they will add additional SEO benefits either. So why the stress? Most of them are pretty much outdated anyway.

      Hope that was the question you asked! :)

      • says

        Hi,
        Sorry for not being clear but this is not what i meant. I was referring to the tags used in wordpress blog while writing a post and tags/keywords used in All In One SEO plugin.

        • says

          Thats fine. The same answer would still apply though.
          I don’t really use WordPress, but based on the few times I’ve used it, a lot of these tags are the same as the ones mentioned above. However, there’s also the noindex, nofollow and noarchive tag which you should not be messing around with unless you know what you’re doing. I would suggest you don’t use those tags unless you don’t want that page to be found my search engines and crawlers as the names imply.
          The other tags like keywords, descriptions and custom title tags can be used to manually if you want to, but WordPress does try to make it easier for you.

  3. says

    Hi Tola thanks for sharing all this SEO information. I love your information on anchor text. I have been trying to find information on anchor text and that you have to use keywords that are relevant to the page. I just have one question Tola what do you think about do follow blogs? Can you share any source to do follow blogs such as a list or something?

    • says

      I’m glad you found it useful.
      I’m all for do follow blogs. However, that doesn’t mean a no follow blog won’t help your cause as well. Sometimes a no follow blog might have more readers who actually go through comments and if you drop an insightful comment they could click on the no follow link to your website and that could lead to a new customer. So no follow blogs have their uses as well.
      I personally don’t have a list of do follow blog but Kristi has one, right here http://dofollow.info/ I’ve never looked at it much myself because I’m not picky whether its a no follow or a do follow, but I’m sure you’ll have lots of useful do follow blogs there. You could also have a search on google for ‘do follow blog list’ . It comes up with quite a number of them.

  4. says

    Do you have any other information on on page optimization. What do you think about putting keywords in your content?

  5. says

    Nice article Tola. My, my, this is the second guest article in as many days I’ve commented on that you wrote! Nice! Certainly appears you are picking the right blogs to guest blog on.

    Regarding tags. Everything you are writing is right on (agreed, meta keywords are probably useless). Image tags are often times neglected. We have a Squidoo lens that receives between 500-1000 visits per week and many are from the image search, “angel” If you do an image search for ‘angel,’ our angel image is usually #1 or #2 and this is out of 75,000,000 results!
    .-= New from Colleen@Kennewick Real Estate Homes for Sale in Cottonwood Springs Kennewick Washington =-.

    • says

      Lol!! Thanks Collen!
      Honestly, how conicidental is that?!
      Thats great, I initally tried using Squidoo lens when I started SEO but couldn’t get my head around it, so I just dropped it. With what you say I just might pick it up again! Thanks for the tip Collen…

  6. says

    Nicely written Tola. You seem to have picked up a good amount of information about SEO in your time. Naming your image files with a keyword-rich description is an excellent tip.

    Another tip: Try naming video files with the keyword you are trying to rank that video for. Then upload to Youtube. There’s no proof but some swear by it! ;)
    .-= New from Josiah@iPhone 4G Accessories Stunning iPhone 4G Product Video =-.

    • says

      Thanks Josiah!
      Video SEO is still something I haven’t gotten around to doing either! I’m a tad bit video shy! :) But yeah, I have heard putting a keyword in the video title goes a very long way…

  7. says

    Just an ‘emphasis’ in your description meta tip. Due to the fact that Google blatantly say that they don’t consider this meta for their ranking factor, it is still important as you said and I agree with it. In fact, I am still writing my meta description in all of my pages.

    How can you convince the user to click in your site if you don’t rank number 1 in the SERP? It’s the meta description! Since Google uses this as snippet in the SERP, write an intriguing description that will contain your keywords and surely the user will have a look at your site by clicking it in the SERP. Be sure to contain the keywords since Google will not use the meta description in the snippet if it couldn’t find the keyword there.

  8. says

    Hi Tola, super article, thank you! And a nice few additions which are more specifically geared to WP.org by Kristi!

    Regards to what Colleen said about her Squid and image tags. I’ve found in the past that when my own images are picked up by the likes of Google images (or wherever) – yes, there is a great surge in traffic, and it can last for weeks, months, even longer. But, the traffic is almost 0% conversion as far as optins are concerned, and as far as monetization is concerned.

    Any thoughts on that yourself please Tola, and Colleen of course, and anyone else for that matter?

    Thanks again!

    Regards
    Joseph

    Oh, and why do you tend to use Blogger over WP.org Tola please, if I may ask? I know these days its really easy to rank Blogspots, but the sheer flexibility of WP.org outweighs this fact in my own opinion.

    • says

      Hi Joseph, thanks for that!
      Like I mentioned to Colleen, I haven’t actually used Squid so can’t really nay or yah it! But I’m of the opinion no traffic is every truly lost! I know there are times I’ve searched for an image, gotten what I wanted then months later came back to that same website. It might mean you shouldn’t focus all your energy there, but it’s an extra traffic source. Just like Stumbleupon, most of the traffic I get from them don’t do jack, but it doesn’t stop me using their services! :)

      Between you n me, it’s pure laziness! I started out with WP.org, got lazy trying to hard code my blog to suit my free template on my main blog so I figured I’ll try blogspot and it’s stuck ever since! I’ve been telling myself to move back to WP.org and I’m working towards it, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself… lol!

  9. says

    Well written Tola. You have covered it all.

    Another optimization trick is to use the keywords in the URL of the article. Now the URL is generated automatically by the blogging software by taking words from the title. There is one trick you can use to customize the URL.

    Set a different title for the article initially – use it to stuff the keywords you want to target, and publish it. Immediately after publishing edit the post and enter the actual title.

    This way you can control what keywords goes into the URL and eliminate unnecessary words from appearing in the URL.
    .-= New from Kaushik High resolution cutaways/cross-sections of airplanes =-.

    • says

      Interesting tip Kaushik!
      I know I have that problem with blogspot where I can’t customise my title so this tip would definitely come in handy. Thanks for that..

  10. says

    Between you and me, it’s pure laziness! I started out with WP.org, got lazy trying to hard code my blog to suit my free template on my main blog so I figured I’ll try blogspot and it’s stuck ever since! I’ve been telling myself to move back to WP.org and I’m working towards it, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself… lol!

  11. says

    Great post Tola. I agree that on page optimisation is still extremely important, even though the so-called esperts keep pushing backlinks, backlinks, backlinks!!!. I’ve had sites is micro niches rank on page 1 without any backlinks, but sensible on page seo is what did it.

    Again, great post, thanks for the tips.
    .-= New from Astoria Pediatricians Astoria Shop Worker Risks Life To Stop Robbers =-.

  12. says

    Hi Astoria, there is no doubt that on-page SEO still plays a relatively important part in over-all rankings in the search engines. However, there can also be no doubt that a quality backlinking campaign does rule the roost as far as ranking high is concerned. If you want to rank when there is any competition worth their salt then on-page is simply no where near enough.

    And I am not talking here as a so-called “expert”, but I am mentioning this due to a lot of personal experience of trying it out.

    Thanks and regards,
    Joseph
    .-= New from Joseph Archibald How Difficult Can SEO Be? =-.

  13. says

    Hey Tola!

    Great to see your post up here. There are actually lots of great articles out there for people who have blogspot blogs to optimize them for SEO. Not as flexible as WordPress but certainly better than the default.

    With all of the tools out there, it really is amazing that more bloggers do not take the time to do a top-to-bottom SEO check on their pages and posts. This is great information so hopefully some people will pick up these tips and run with them.

    Cheers,
    Tia
    .-= New from Tia Comment Spam: Sex, Lies, Videotape, and Ponies =-.

  14. says

    I have come upon a few articles that briefly explain the importance of proper Tag SEO. And I mean briefly. This is by far the best descriptive post on this subject. How long do you recommend waiting / reviewing results before changing the tag if the one you currently have doesn’t seem to be “working”

    • says

      Thanks Kathleen.
      I think a lot of the waiting time would depend on how regular the search engines crawel your website. If your blog is craweled daily then I would give it about a fortnight to observe changes, but that is because I know the website is craweled daily. It could take longer to observe if the website isn’t craweled daily.
      Hope that gives you an idea.
      Tola just posted Blogging for Business: Benefits of Company Blogs

  15. says

    I feel these are some basic SEO tips which both WordPress and blogspot bloggers must follow :)
    When it comes to WordPress , Few plugins like SEO Friendly Image looks after the image alt and description tags and Headspace2 look after the meta tags of the particular page or post. So no issues for WordPress , but for blogspot users they have to work little hard in terms of images and labels.

    Thanks for the tips Tola :)
    Sunil Jain just posted Do you know A to Z of Yahoo! ?



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